The key to defeating the forces of darkness this coming May elections is for the deconstruction of discourses occurring within hegemonic spheres. Three differing hegemonic spheres are competing for the voter’s attention.
The first hegemony is what I call Marcosian bagong lipunan. This fantasm has already failed with the downfall of the Marcos regime in 1986. However, many of its ideological assertions persisted because of the failure of the alternative hegemony called the “Liberal democratic” to enact heartfelt and genuine social change in the last 30 years post-Marcos era.
The institutionalization of the liberal democratic hegemony led to a loss of its prestige as an effective and viable solution to the country’s ills. While efforts to resuscitate its ideological value exist, the consistent failures attenuated by charges of corruption undertaken by its key ideological promoters destroyed public support. The lack of a systematic iteration and ideation of the value of liberal democracy in the lives of the people led to a loss of respect and support of voters behind it, creating a widespread perception that the Marcosian discourse is a suitable alternative to the failed hegemony.
Likewise, the loss of the media giant ABS-CBN as a dominant venue for eliminating or delimiting the logic of discursivity affected the rise of discursive events that should have resulted in a more refined and more responsive third hegemony. We have a fragmented polity, distressed by a plethora of different voices offering ideas that border on disconnectivity. This election should have been an occasion for a distilled and more effective response to social ills, yet, the third hegemony that Moreno’s and Lacson’s camps are promoting remain underdeveloped.
This third hegemony is being promoted as a synergy of the populist proposition of the Duterte regime and a democratic rules-based proposition. Since the development of this proposition remains stillborn, the Filipino voter’s choices are thus affected not by the discursive values of hegemony but by the personalities promoting the hegemony. The Marcos camp recognizes this hence their aversion to presidential debates.
The Marcos camp wants Filipinos to remain fixated on the fantasy logic of the Bagong Lipunan to achieve the logic of equivalence between their camp and the voters. The Marcos camp is not concerned with the truth or the correct interpretation of the voters about the Bagong Lipunan. These fantasies were allowed to develop because it sustains or clings to a hope of change by Filipinos. Among these hegemonies, the one with the clearest ideology remains the Marcos hegemony. The continuing discourse animates voters’ minds regardless of the incompetence and the checkered corruption records of personalities behind such hegemony.
What should be done?
Opposition groups need to promote a singular ideological platform that invalidates the social facts promoted by the Marcos hegemonic sphere. This is an occasion when political rhetoric must be employed to create an alternative fantasy logic rather than mere social (improvement of social services) or political logic (Bagong politika). Filipino voters must be given a chance to imagine what kind of future a Robredo administration brings compared to the reiteration of a failed experiment as represented by the Marcosian logic of Bagong Lipunan. The contrast must be stark and life-threatening. Otherwise, it will not create discursive events that invalidate the Marcosian narrative.